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JULY 9, 2015
ENGAGING WITH CITIZENS IN THEIR BACKYARDS: A CSO
SPOTLIGHT ON VILLAGES IN UPPEAR AJARA
On July 7-8, 2015, ACCESS staff members and representatives of leading Civil Society
Organizations (CSOs), including Transparency InternationalGeorgia (TIGeorgia), the
Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC), and the Civil Development Agency (CiDA) visited local
communities in upper Ajara to engage the locals in discussions about their most pressing needs
and find ways in which CSOs can support them. Meetings were held in inviting and inclusive
environments locals' yards, which helped stimulate free and open discussion. Representatives
of the Ajara-based CSOs (TI-Georgia Ajara Branch, Borjghali, and Black Sea Eco-Academy) also
attended the meetings.
The main purposes of the tour were to establish closer links between national and local CSOs and
local communities, involve citizens in setting agendas for CSOs to ensure that they represent the
primary needs of citizens on all levels, and engage citizens in open discussion on Georgia's EU
integration.
Meetings were held in five villages of upper Ajara region: Okruashvilebi (Khulo Municipality),
Chanchkhalo (Shuakhevi municipality), Nigazeuli (Shuakhevi Municipality), Vaio (Keda
Municipality) and Merisi (Keda Municipality).
Siting in Tbilisi and speaking in conference halls or at TV-stations is not enough. We have to go
and reach out to the communities at the grassroots level to hear about their problems and needs
so that we can tailor our activities and campaigns according to those needs, said Zviad
Devdariani (CiDA executive director) to citizens at the meeting.
Registration of agricultural land plots, delivering and selling agricultural products on the markets,
poor village infrastructure (deteriorated roads and lack of water), environmental, social and
infrastructural problems caused by construction of the large hydropower dam in Shuakhevi
municipality, lack of communication with dam construction company, low awareness on planned
construction activities and its potential impact on the surroundings, poor communication with
government authorities and low civic engagement in decision-making, rapid spread of the tree
disease in the forests of the Nigazeuli village these and other problems were raised and hotly
discussed during the meetings in all villages.
CSOs promised local residents to raise these issues towards the local and central government
entities and update population on developments. EPRC representative offered locals to help in
drafting project proposals and seeking out available government and/or donor funding to foster
small enterprises at the local level.
Following Up on Citizens' Concerns
As a follow-up to the meetings EWMI, EPRC, CiDA and TI-Georgia sent joint letters to the
Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia, Minister of Regional
Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, and the Head of the Supreme Council of the Ajara,
elaborating on community concerns and problems. In particular, the letter recommended:

Increasing communication with Merisi village residents regarding planned hydropower dam
construction activities.

Addressing water problems in villages of Chanchkhalo and Vaio.

Repairing drainage systems in village of Nigazeuli so that investors can afterwards repair
village roads.

Mitigating the spread of a disease that is infecting trees in Nigazeuli.

The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development invited EWMI ACCESS and its partner
CSOs to meet with the Deputy Ministers and exchange details pertaining to environmental
problems identified during the tour.
Ministry representatives informed EWMI ACCESS that the dam construction company had
multiple obligations under the contract vis--vis the prevention of environmental damage in the
upper Ajara region and the Ministry was receiving regular monitoring reports from the company
on impact of their works on local environment. In response to the joint letter from the CSOs, the
Ministry had decided to initiate a special inspection of the construction company to make sure
that it met all of its obligations and to verify credibility of their monitoring reports. The Ministry
also promised to provide copies of all previous examination and monitoring results upon
receiving a written request so that EWMI ACCESS and its partner organizations could share it
with the concerned residents of upper Ajara.
Addressing the disease affecting forests, Ministry representatives said that Ajara's forests were
under the management of Ajara's government. After receiving the joint letter the Ministry
contacted Ajara's government to get additional information. The regional government confirmed
that the forest required sanitary inspection and intervention, but they were unable to resolve this
problem due to a legal loophole in the local legislation and the lack of storage facility for cut
wood. The Ministry of Environment assured EWMI ACCESS and CSOs that it would assist the
Ajara government in removing the legal loophole and identifying a solution to the storage
problem.
Another letter was sent to the head of Keda municipality requesting it to promptly address
citizens' concern regarding water shortage and install water bore-holes in the village of Vaio. The
head of Keda municipality pledged to allocate funding in 2015 to dig two bore-holes in village
Vaio and one in the nearby village of Inasharidzeebi.
EWMI ACCESS and its partner CSOs will continue to monitor government responses and actions
and advocate on behalf of Ajara's regional population. Furthermore, ACCESS will ensure that the
citizens of upper Ajara remain informed about the developments affecting their villages and
livelihoods.

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11 JULY, 2015
CiDA ASSISTED BBC JOURNALIST IN
PREPARATION OF AN ARTICLE ABOUT
GEORGIAN MIGRANTS
Financial crisis in Greece has affected not only Greeks but
the Georgian migrants living there. BBC has dedicated an
article to the Georgian migrants living in Greece, published
under the headline Greek debt crisis: Georgians feel
Greece's pain.
BBC South Caucasus correspondent Rayhan Demytrie has
contacted CiDA to get more information about Georgian
migrants. Since 2013 CiDA implements the EU funded
project Georgia - Personalized Assistance for Migrants" (GPAM) which aims at supporting Georgia to better manage
migration processes. Project representative Zura Tsurtsumia
informed the BBC correspondent about the current situation
regarding migrants as well as the root causes for migration,
what kind of influence the current economic crisis has on
migrants and so on.
To meet personally already returned migrants Rayhan
Demytrie and Zura Tsurtsumia visited Kakheti region of
Georgia where they met them. Returned migrants talked
about their life abroad, their conditions and problems they
encountered in Greece.
To see the full article about the Georgian migrants please
follow this link: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe33484942?SThisFB&fb_ref=Default

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GOOD EXPERIENCE IN MIGRATION FIELD


WAS MARKED IN A SPECIAL BULLETIN
On March 31 April 2, 2015 representatives of the several
ministries of Afghanistan and Iraq visited Georgia with the aim to
familiarize themselves with Georgia's experience of managing
migration processes and knowledge in this field.
As part of the study trip, foreign guests met with state,
international and NGO sector representatives, including CiDA's
project lawyer Maia Paksashvili. CiDA's representative talked
about the G-PAM project and introduced its activities and results
to the guests. Meeting participants got interested in the project's
idea, as a result of it in the newsletter published after finishing
the study trip, CiDA's experience in migration field was
acknowledged. The newsletter also mentions the webpage
(www.migrant.ge) created under the above mentioned project
which was carried out by CiDA with the financial support of the
European Union.

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JULY 17, 2015


CiDA ABOUT TO LAUNCH A NEW VERSION OF
WWW.CSO.GE

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On July 17, 2015 CiDA held a meeting with media representatives


to present a new version of the www.cso.ge webpage. Working
on the webpage is due to finish and one of its sectoins will be
dedicated to media, which will be updated daily. Media
representatives will have chance to get information and media
announcements about the events planned in the NGO sector. In
addition, journalists will be able to access statements and reports
released by civil society organizations operating in Georgia.
Representatives of the media sector have assessed this initiative
positively. According to them this kind of information will help
them introduce new developments in the NGO sector in Georgia.
CiDA will host a webpage presentation in the near future.

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22 JULY, 2015
PROTESTING OCCUPATION

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On July 22, members of the Regional Civil Society Network (RCSN) organized a peaceful demonstration in Gori to protest
creeping occupation near the village Khurvaleti, Shida Kartli
region, and to support the local populations living near the
administrative border.
Russians should not determine the Georgian borders, Unite
for de-occupation, and Georgia needs international support
were main messages of the protest participants.
At first, the location of the demonstration was announced to take
place in the village of Khurvaleti, however to avoid additional
provocations, it was held in Gori. The peaceful demonstration
was joined by foreigners living in Georgia and in Gori in particular
and urged the international community to make adequate
statements and steps to stop the creeping occupation in the
country.
Before the demonstration, members of the Regional Civil Society
Network (R-CSN) held a working meeting where they discussed the
current situation near occupation line.

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JULY 24, 2015


COORDINATION MEETING ON MIGRATION
PROJECTS

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The 5th coordination meeting of the migration-related projects


was held on 24 July 2015. The Secretariat of the State
Commission on Migration Issues is convening these special
coordination meetings twice a year to discuss already finished
and planned projects in the field of migration in Georgia.


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These meetings serve a goof platform for international and


non-governmental organizations involved in the EU- and/or
other donor-funded projects as well as the state authorities
members of the Commission to get detailed information on the
innovations in the field of migration and make business
contacts with partner agencies, thus minimizing the risk of
duplications and thematic overlaps. This in turn ensures that
the result-oriented actions are mutually agreed and efficiently
coordinated.

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Participant of the meeting was CiDA and presented two


projects which is due to begin in Kakheti and Kvemo Kartli
regions of Georgia. The second project is continuation of the
already existing project G-PAM which received financial
support from the Eurasia Partnership Fund and the European
Union.
Meeting participants discussed the new and planned projects
jointly

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JULY 25, 2015


NATIONAL AND LOCAL CSOs TO AGREE ON
STANDARDS OF FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY

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On July 25, leading regional and Tbilisi-based CSOs gathered at the


Ambasadori Hotel in Kachreti to discuss financial transparency of CSOs
and agree on the ways to promote such transparency. The meeting was
organized by EWMI as part of the ACCESS project aimed at enhancing
public trust in and support to CSOs in Georgia.

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The meeting started with discussing the challenges of Georgian CSOs, in


particular: insufficient knowledge of and credibility of CSOs with the
Georgian public; recent attempts to discredit CSOs by branding them as
'corrupt' and 'state enemies'; and increasing number of CSOs with
unknown and suspicious sources of funding. To address these challenges,
CSOs decided to agree on common standards for promoting CSO
financial transparency and increasing public access to information on
who funds CSOs and for what.



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Although many of the participants of the July 25 meeting already publish


detailed data on their donors and project budgets, they underlined the
importance of adopting a sector-wide transparency standard and
stimulating a discussion on the significance of CSO transparency. This will
help to better inform citizens, as well as donors, policy-makers, and other
stakeholders about CSOs' work; establish a culture of greater
transparency of the CSO sector one of the key actors in building
democracy; and put an additional pressure on opaque CSOs to reveal
their funding sources or explain the reasons for remaining closed.
The meeting participants agreed that the joint standard had to be
inclusive and not exclusive so that any interested organization was able
to sign it regardless of the level of its development. Also, it had to
address the most fundamental principles of transparency, and it had to
be simple, succinct, and clear. Prior to drafting the joint document, they
reviewed the past efforts and experiences of the Georgian civil society
(i.e. Code of Conduct adopted in 2004, Think Tank Ethics Code adopted in
2013) and the international experience in the field (i.e.
www.transparify.org initiative), and finally agreed to develop a document
that would require its signatory CSOs to publish the information about
their funding sources, funding amounts, project/program objectives, and
project/program duration.
The draft document will be shared with other CSOs for additional input.
Once the document is finalized, the CSOs will organize a public signing
event in Tbilisi scheduled for September, 2015. After the Tbilisi event, the
CSOs will travel to the regions to present the joint document and engage
a larger number of regional and Tbilisi-based CSOs in the discussion on
CSO financial transparency.

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AUGUST 12, 2015


CiDA JOINS UN GLOBAL COMPACT INITIATIVE
On August 12, 2015, the Civil Development Agency joined United
Nations Global Compact initiative. The UN Global Compact is the
world's largest corporate sustainability initiative, which supports
the creation of a sustainable and inclusive global economy that
delivers lasting benefits to people, communities and markets. For
achieving the mentioned goal, the UN Global Compact
encourages companies to: (1) Do business responsibly by aligning
their strategies and operations with Ten Principles on human
rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. (2) Take strategic
actions to advance broader societal goals, such as the
forthcoming UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Through the membership in the UN Global Compact initiative,
CiDA pledges to support corporate social responsibility in Georgia
through promoting the implementation of the initiative's Ten
Principles with business enterprises and other members of the
society.

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